15 October 2012

A group of fourth year chemical and metallurgical engineering students from The University of Queensland recently gained international experience during a field trip to Chile.

Fourth-year chemical and metallurgical engineering student Tom Rodgers said the two-week trip provided exposure to some of the world’s largest minerals processing operations.

“As the world leader in copper production, visiting Chile gave us an insight into copper processing on a scale not seen in Australia,” Mr Rodgers said.

“We were also challenged to overcome cultural and language barriers to make the trip possible.
“The skills that we obtained on the trip and in the organisation will definitely be useful for us in going forward in our studies and future careers.”

School of Chemical Engineering lecturer Dr James Vaughan said the 13 students attended numerous sites and met international industry representatives from companies such as Xstrata, Barrick, Codelco, BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Hatch, Fluor, and Andritz Automation.

“The students spent two weeks in Chile, inspecting technologies used in the largest copper processing plants in the world,” Dr Vaughan said.

“We were also warmly welcomed by the Universidad Catolica Del Norte of Antofagasta, where the students were invited to a traditional Chilean BBQ.”

The students, including fourth-year chemical and metallurgical engineering student Matthew Thompson, were responsible for organising the trip and seeking industry support.

“While organising the trip we were forced to significantly develop our communication skills and professionalism when dealing with the diverse range of professionals involved in the trip, such as the industry sponsors, host sites, our peers and UQ staff,” Mr Thompson said.

“On behalf of the entire group I would like to thank all of the industry sponsors who made this trip possible. It has truly been an amazing experience, and would not have succeeded without the incredible interest and support shown by all of the companies involved.”

Although the Chilean trip is optional, the trip is just one of the many ways through which UQ internationalises course curriculum.

Media: Madelene Flanagan (m.flanagan@uq.edu.au or +61 7 3365 8525) or Dr James Vaughan (james.vaughan@uq.edu.au)